No matter how much we plan and prep for our vacations, sometimes, things don’t always go quite as planned. Maybe you get a flat tire on your road trip across the state. Or you need to unexpectedly pay for an extra night at the hotel. But one scenario that probably doesn’t cross our minds is what to do if we have a dental mishap on our trip.
And while we can’t prepare for every chipped tooth or bleeding gum, what we can do is arm ourselves with the knowledge we need to give us peace of mind if something does happen. So, if you’re traveling this summer, take a few minutes to learn what to do in case of a dental emergency.
Pack some dental care essentials
When you pack up your travel first aid kit, make some room and throw in a few dental emergency care items, too! These include cotton balls, disposable gloves and oral gel. While these items are not a substitute for professional care, they can temporarily alleviate pain and keep things under control.
To learn more about these and other dental emergency kit essentials, check out this blog post!
Check the check-up off the list
To minimize the chance of a dental issue occurring on your trip, it may be in your best interest to schedule your bi-annual checkup before hitting the road. This way, you may be able to catch any potential problems before you head out.
Know where to go out of town
Before you travel, call your dentist’s office. Depending on your destination and what networks your dentist is a part of, they may have other locations across the country or other offices they can refer you to.
If you have dental insurance, you can also call the number on the back of your card and they will be able to guide you on where you may be able to seek dental care in case something urgent happens on your vacation. If you don’t have insurance, you still have options. You can enroll in a low-cost dental discount program before you go or check out this resource guide from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
What to do if traveling abroad
Preparing for international travel is obviously different than a domestic trip and seeking dental care is no exception. You should still seek advice from your dentist’s office and/or your insurance carrier, but since dental care and accessibility varies widely by location, you will want to keep some information handy. Here are some key contacts:
- Your hotel concierge
- Any Americans or military personnel (if you know any in the area)
- The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
- The contact information for the American Embassy in the country you are visiting
- The American Dental Society of Europe
Finally, check out this guide to safe dental care for travelers, courtesy of the Organization For Safety and Asepsis Procedures.
The bottom line: When on the road, it is good to be prepared for anything, including a dental emergency. Pack some dental care essentials in your emergency kit. Make your regular check-up before you go to minimize risk. Use the time before your trip to do some homework: find out where other dental offices are and how you can get low-cost care if you don’t have insurance. If traveling abroad, have some important contact information at the ready just in case.